The variegated hosta is in full swirl now.
The sight of it transported me
back to my early childhood days
when I’d stretch out my arms,
toss back my head and spin until I fell down,
the green of the trees swirling still,
until it finally came to rest.
And I would lay there in the fragrant, cool grass
watching the leaves of the cottonwoods
and poplars blow in the breeze from the bay,
and above them, white gulls soaring, their calls
cascading down through the canopy
of May’s glorious unfolding green.
I promised you that when the snow was deep
and I had begun to believe that winter was eternity,
I would remember you. I would remember
your countless shades of green, your plush grass
buzzing with bees and clover, and the smell of it.
I would remember the warmth of your sun
and the blessing of the breeze singing through
your dancing leaves, and the sheer, inviting
welcome of your being.
And now that day has come, the one where I began
to believe that winter would go on forever.
I confess that I didn’t choose to remember;
the memory of you came to me on its own,
drifting across the cold, gently emerging
with a touch of kindness that I could not ignore.
And so I sit here, before my fire, waiting
for the assault of another coming storm,
and I lose myself in your rolling verdant hills
until my eyes tear with gratitude
for comfort of you, for remembering
you are as real as the cold, and will return.
It was one of those summer days that the geese tucked into their memory stores to recount to one another on long, winter nights. They would tell about how they sat on the lawn and ate their fill of the bugs that crawled between the blades of grass. They would remind each other how wonderful the grass smelled, newly mown as it was, and brimming with white clover.
Normally, the humans filled the park. But they disappeared in the rain as if it would melt them and rain had fallen all morning long and threatened to return. So the geese had the place to themselves. And they sat on the earth amidst the waves of grass and preened themselves, and slept and dreamed, wrapped in the green luscious smell of it all, breathing it into their hearts, bathing in joy.
I’ve always thought it was kind of summer to choose the cool end of the spectrum for her dominant hues. They’re completely installed now, the blue with its playful clouds, the greens dancing with the slightest breeze.
But aside from its colors and its sounds— the birds, the cicadas, the crickets and chipmunks, the frogs, the shrieks of children freed at last into the world’s great playground, the rustling leaves, the fall of rain, the churning rivers and babbling brooks— aside from all these, it’s the fragrances that marks the season.
I suppose it’s the thickness of the air.
You need a certain density to carry the smells of the river, of the grass and its clovers, of foods cooked over an open fire, of wild roses and the ever-changing perfumes of the cultivated gardens, and of soil before and after rain, and of the produce at the farmers’ markets, and melting asphalt in the parking lots and on the roads. It’s ever-changing, this ocean of smells, and it’s all so rich, and so summer, don’t you think?
Don’t you love the way it makes you want to breathe all the way down to your belly just to taste the passing smells?
Framed by the fallen stems of dried grasses, a gold leaf lies on red rocks.
This November poem, penned by the Great Yes, was written long before the ages began.
Think of all that had to go before, that had to happen just so: the planet, the rocks, the grass, the leaf, the winds, the lineage, the coming together, the staying apart. All for this ordinary miracle.
There are no accidents. All things obey Love’s law.
And we can only stand in awe and wonder.
The trees breathe the afternoon light. To them, it is all ecstasy – the sun, the sky, the way the winged ones float on the air, their songs, the whispering of their neighbors, the ferns and moss and grass at their feet, the scampering of chipmunks and mice and squirrels.
It is all bliss, one kaleidoscopic turning of jeweled joy dancing through their being and singing the endless beautiful Yes.
If you were ten, you would know in a minute that this is a dream come true. This is a skinny-dipping, rope-swinging patch of summer heaven, complete with turtles and frogs, just waiting for someone to drop a hooked worm on the end of a long tree-branch pole.
If you were ten, you’d make whistles from the grass, and chew on the stems of grasses gone to seed. You’d dangle your toes from the banks and watch the wiggling minnows.
If you were ten, you’d find stones to skip across the water and chase snakes and never be afraid. And you’d lie back in the deep grass and watch the circus clouds drift by and wonder what momma was cooking for dinner.
And when you went home to find out and she asked you over the pork chops what you’d done today, you would look out from your sunburned eyes, the butter from the cob of corn running down your arms, and shrug and say, “Oh, nothin’. I just hung out by the river.”
And momma would smile and love you, because you were ten.
On this promise of a day, the winds play elsewhere and the bright sun plants warm kisses on the bare bark of the trees. Downstream from the spillway, geese do a slow paddle through the green stream, hope flowing behind them in watery trails.
The grass lounges in this respite from winter, poking small blades of joy into the temperate air. In the creek, the fishes come from beneath the rocks to mouth the dancing bubbles.
It will not last. From the west, the last blast of winter is rushing toward this placid scene. But today the sun is warm with promise and the world is whispering the yes of spring.
The early March sun poured it on, turning the snow into water, warming the fingers of the sky-reaching trees.
Her morning gold rolled down the hillsides, tickling awake the blades of grass, teasing the dandelion leaves from their slumber.
She winked at the ivy as she waltzed by, and paused to caress the small coral buds on the quince at the edge of the forest.
Then she rose higher in the sky, and looking down, saw her morning’s work shining like a poem from the roadside puddle.
None of the daisies saw the field the same way. Some watched the sky, some watched the birds, some gazed at the leaves in the trees. Some talked with the tiny flowers next door, some chatted with grass and some with clover.
Some bent to the east and some to the south, and others looked every which way in between. Some were tall and peered from the top of long stems. Some were wee, barely knee-high to the others.
Some were awake, and some were dreaming. Some laughed at the tickle of bees gathering their pollen. Some giggled at the tiny ants that climbed on their petals and leaves.
The Great Yes wants to experience life from every possible perspective, you see. That’s why there are countless stars and snowflakes. That’s why there’s eternity. Even a month full of daisies, stretched as far as the eye can see, are but a flicker of the whole. And yet, the Great Yes wouldn’t be what it is without them, every single one.